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Jeff Miers

The News' music critic since 2002, Jeff Miers also compiles the "90 Minutes" series where he highlights things to do in various Western New York neighborhoods. Miers co-hosts the monthly Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour at the Sportsmen's Tavern.


EvolveAni DiFrancoRighteous Babe RecordsRating: *** 1/2 stars (Out of four) Well, we always assumed she had it in her.Though she carved her reputation as an aggressive folk artist, a brave woman armed only with a big voice, an acoustic guitar and a passionate ideology, Ani DiFranco is also a producer and arranger of no slight talent."Evolve," out today on DiFranco's ow…

Packed. Folks from all walks of life. No pungent smell in the air. Plenty of leather, but of the fashionable sort, not the biker or "hard rock guy on a weekend bender" sort.Last evening's Billy Joel and Elton John "Face to Face" performance smacked of the sort of politeness that, according to many of rock's finest critics, signified the death of rock 'n' roll in the mid to…

Billy Joel and Elton John probably won't be releasing new studio albums anytime soon. In the meantime, here's my recommendations for essential listening from both artists.Joel: "The Stranger," 1977 (Columbia). This remains Billy Joel's masterpiece, an album of remarkably varied, timeless pop music."The Nylon Curtain," 1982 (Columbia). Perhaps Joel's bravest album, this…

When Tori Amos emerged from the ether in 1991 with her stunning debut, "Little Earthquakes," she was dogged by comparisons to British art-rock wunderkind Kate Bush every step of the way.The comparisons were on the money, but not for the reason one might assume. Amos is her own woman, and calling her a Bush ripoff misses the essence of her unique, idiosyncratic art. But Amo…

WHAT: Billy Joel and Elton John's Face to Face TourWHEN: 7:30 p.m. SundayWHERE: HSBC ArenaTICKETS: $45 to $175INFO: Tickets.com The lights go down on the capacity crowd inside Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre.Spotlights reveal a 10-piece band poised on a large platform surrounded by what looks like a chain-link fence. Suddenly, the platform begins to rise toward the l…

It's been an uphill battle all along.The hill, however, is about to get a bit steeper.Buffalo musicians -- particularly those who regularly write, record and perform their own music -- are a tough lot.Perhaps it's the weather. Maybe it's the lousy reputation our city has earned across the country. Could be the fact that record labels aren't now, nor are they likely to be s…

In 1993, shortly after Celtic punks Black 47 burst out of Paddy Reilly's bar in New York City with the album "Fire of Freedom," Time magazine was inspired to breathe an audible sigh of relief. "Finally, rock 'n' roll that means something again," it gushed.Time hit the nail on the head, for Black 47 had tapped into the zeitgeist, or at least that part of it yearning for roc…

By day, he's a soft-spoken dad and husband, a low-key family man.By night, he prowls the seedy underbelly of Buffalo's original music clubs, a glass balanced on his keyboard, cigarette perpetually dangling from his lips.For years, David Kane has been a fixture on our scene, a mercurial artist equally capable of handling honky-tonk piano duties with the Headhunters or leadi…

Some have suggested that Dokken's impending appearance at the Continental is the seventh sign of the apocalypse. The Continental is, after all, widely held to be a goth, punk and hardcore palace, the sort of place every Buffalo music lover has a deep-seated memory of. Ministry we could accept at the Continental. But Dokken?Truth is, Dokken -- whose commercial zenith occure…

The Figgs could be the greatest band you've never heard of.For more than a decade, the Albany-/Saratoga-based band has been cranking out the sort of power-pop that would make the Cheap Trick or Big Star lover in your life blush with the pride of familiarity. During that time, the band has dealt first-hand with the curmudgeonly beast that is the record business, watched its…

Redheaded Stepchild has entered its seventh year with the release of a stunning document of its developing songwriting acumen and estimable instrumental chops.The CD "folks 'round here" is the band's second studio release and it delivers on the promise of its debut, "Time Will Tell," an album that won accolades from Buffalo to North Carolina.Years of touring and the solidi…

Late last year, when the digitally remastered, expanded edition of the 1972 Wishbone Ash masterpiece "Argus" hit the streets, it was impossible to deny the indelible mark left on the rock world by this pioneering British act. "Argus" is widely held to be Wishbone Ash's finest hour, and listening to it in its dusted-down format, it's easy to understand why. Twin-guitar harm…

"At a time when pop music is dominated by swishy, style-soaked synthesizer bands whose main concern seems to be their ability to make people dance and forget the problems of the world, U2 stands out as a real exception."-- James Henke, Rolling Stone magazine, June 1983When James Henke wrote these words for Rolling Stone -- words as applicable today as when they were first …

"Musicians care about music. The music business cares about generating more business. The way I see it, that's their problem, not mine."So said bassist Tony Levin, who has worked with everyone from John Lennon to Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, when he recently received a Grammy nomination in the Best Rock Instrumental category for a song from his "Pieces of the Sun" album…

"There's a silent minority of folks out there who are sick to death of what's on the radio and certainly have no interest in hearing more of it when they go out in the evening. These people are finding a new nightlife home on Main Street."Whoa. Stop the presses.Is Osaka Blu promotions director Scott Hunt implying that not everyone in our fair city enjoys hearing Creed, Nic…